Ancient Israelite Hisory: The Patriarchal Period

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Ancient Israelite Hisory: The Patriarchal Period, by Jacob Gluck

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<ul><li> 1. Ancient Israelite HistoryThe Patriarchal Age: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by Jacob Gluck</li></ul><p> 2. Patriarchal history in a nutshell (prior toExodus):Abram son of Terah leaves Ur in southernMesopotamia and travels to Haran in NWMesopotamia.He then moves on to the land of Canaan. Isaac isborn in Canaan.Isaacs son Jacob descends to Egypt due to afamine and his progeny is enslaved there untilthey are led out by Moses. 3. Abrahams Migratory Journey 4. Patriarchal history is characterized by private affairs. Few references topublic events. None correspond to persons/events of general hisory.No extra-biblical record of events in Gen 14 (war of five kings of theplain vs. four Mesopotamian kings lead by Chedorlaomer king ofElam). No record of the names of the 9 kings involved.No record of Melchizedek king of Salem (Gen 14).No record of Abimelech king of Gerar (Gen 20, 26).No mention of Potiphar (Egyptian officer), Hamor son of Shechem orEphron the Hittite (citizen of Hebron).List of Edomite kings (Gen 36) appears only in the bible.Pharaoh of the Joseph story and Exodus is not mentioned by name. 5. Question: When did the patriarchs live?Abraham 75-100, Isaac 60, Jacob 130. Total years spentin Canaan: 215Period of slavery in Egypt: 430 (Exodus 12:40)Construction of temple in 4th year of Solomon: 480(1Kings 6:1)Solomon is believed to have died approx. 930 BCE. 4thyear of Solomon is 966 BCE 6. Biblical chronological scheme:2091 BCE: Abrahams departure for Canaan.1876 BCE: Descent of Jacobs family into Egypt.1446 BCE: Exodus from Egypt.966 BCE: Construction of Solomons temple. 7. Problems with biblical chronology:1. Impossibly long life spans2a. 430 years is too long for 4 generations.2b. Internal inconsistencies (4th gen. vs. 12th gen. ; avg143 vs. avg 39).3. Conquest of Canaan in 1406 BCE? (40 years afterexodus). No archeological evidence of widespreadconquest in late 15th cent.Changes in material culture associated with appearanceof Israelites is dated to 13th-12th cent. BCE (cf.Merneptah Stele 1207 BCE). 8. Listen to snippet of lecture by Israel FinkelsteinHistory and Rationality Series, Hebrew University, 2007.retrieved from youtube. Camels (Tel Jemmeh increase in adult camel bones in 7thcent.) Arabian goods: gum, balm and myrrh (common duringAssyrian empire 8-7th cent.) Philistines (not before 1200 BCE) Gerar (tel haror; in 8-7th cent it became heavily fortifiedassyrian administrative stronghold in south). Arameans (not mentioned before 1100 BCE.; establishmentof stone boundary by Jacob and Laban). Ur of the Chaldees Edom (no kings before 8th cent. Settlements reached peak in7th cent. 9. The Merneptah Stele also known as theIsrael Stele or Victory Stele of Merneptah isan inscription by the Ancient Egyptian kingMerneptah (reign:1213 to 1203 BC), whichappears on the reverse side of a granite steleerected by the king Amenhotep III. It wasdiscovered by Flinders Petrie in 1896 atThebes.The stele has gained much fame and notorietyfor being the only Ancient Egyptian documentgenerally accepted as mentioning "Isrir" or"Israel". It is also, by far, the earliest knownattestation of the demonym Israel. For thisreason, many scholars refer to it as the "Israelstele".The black granite stela primarilycommemorates a victory in a campaign againstthe Libu and Meshwesh Libyans and their SeaPeople allies, but its final two lines refer to aprior military campaign in Canaan in whichMerneptah states that he defeatedAshkelon, Gezer, Yanoam and Israel amongothers.[1] 10. Israel is wasted, its seed is no longer.NOTES: Full stanza: Canaan is captive with all woe. Ashkelon is conquered, Gezerseized, Yanoam made nonexistent; Israel is wasted, bare of seedMaterial: Black graniteLanguage: HieroglyphicDiscovery: 1896 by Flinders Petrie: "Wont the reverends be pleasedDeterminative used is for people, not country.The stele was discovered in 1896 by Flinders Petrie who located it in the first court ofMerneptahs mortuary temple at Thebes.[2] It is now in the collection of the Egyptian Museumat Cairo, and a fragmentary copy of the stele was also found at Karnak.[3] Flinders Petrie calledupon Wilhelm Spiegelberg, a German philologist in his archaeological team to translate thenewly found massive granite stela. Towards the end of the text, Spiegelberg was puzzled by themention of one symbol, that of a people or tribe whom Merenptah had victoriously smitten--"I.si.ri.ar?"[4] Petrie quickly suggested that it read: "Israel!"[4] Spiegelberg agreed that thistranslation must be correct. "Wont the reverends be pleased?" remarked Petrie.[4] At dinnerthat evening, Petrie who realized the importance of the find said: "This stele will be betterknown in the world than anything else I have found."[4] 11. Conclusion: patriarchal narrative in Genesis cannot beused as a historical resource. It should be interpretedon the basis of1. distinctive literary history and purpose ofcomposition2. development of the traditions upon which literarynarrative is based. 12. Composite nature of patriarchal narratives: JEPD documentaryhypothesis (JE during first temple, PD in exilic or post exilicperiod).On the surface, therefore, biblical patriarchal history reflectsthe political and religious viewpoint of the (first temple)Judean monarchy and priesthood. Veeskha legoy gadol.Accordingly, the figures in Gen 12-50 are typological pre-figurations of later Israelites and their neighbors --In manycases, eponyms.Jacob assumes the eponym Israel and his twelve sons are theeponymous ancestors of the 12 tribes of Israel. 13. Eponymous ancestors of Israels enemies are born ofincestuous union of Lot and his daughters Moab andBen-ammi.Jacob outwits Esau who is called Edom-- and winsbirthright and blessing.Ishmael eponymous ancestor of desert tribes is child ofAbram and Sarais Egyptian maid Hagar.We need procedures to shed light on the developmentof the traditions, the pre-literary history of the Genesisstories 12-50. 14. Archaeological Method: William Foxwell Albright (FatherRoland De Vaux, G.E. Wright, Ephraim A. Speiser &amp; mid-nineteenth cent. archaeologists) school of thought:Patriarchal narratives were composed no earlier than tenthcen. BCE. They are based on historically reliable traditions andpreserve authentic details.Certain personal names, social customs, and legal practices inBible correspond to known features of second-millenniumculture in Mesopotamia, Syria and Canaan; yet areincompatible with the culture of the Israelite monarchy (timeof its composition). Therefore, must be authentic.General cultural milieu could best be identified with earlysecond-millennium BCE. 15. As a whole the picture in Genesis is historical and there is noreason to doubt the general accuracy of the biographicaldetails and the sketches of personality which make thepatriarchs come alive with a vividness unknown to a singleextra-biblical character in he whole vast literature of theancient Near East W. F. Albright, The Biblical Period fromAbraham to Ezra, 1963We shall probably never be able to prove that Abram reallyexisted, that he did this or that, said thus and so, but what wecan prove is that his life and times, as reflected in the storiesabout him, fit perfectly within the early secondmillennium, but imperfectly with any later period. G. ErnestWright, Biblical Archaeology, 1962 16. Ur III rulers complaining of nonurban peoples (Amurru-westerners) laying claim to city land (invasion orimmigration -- Amorite Hypothesis).Abrahams wanderings associated with Amoritemovement, according to Albright.Problem: Absence of urban centers 17. Patriarchal Period according to AlbrightMB I2100-1900 Arrival of new peoples; AbrahamBCEMB II A 1900-1750 Un-walled villages in Syria andBCE Canaan; city-states encouragedby EgyptiansMB II B 1700-1600 Egypt weakened; independentBCE city-states prosper; Jacob; old-babylonian period/Hammurabi,age of Mari in Syria.MB II C 1600-1550BCE 18. Mesopotamia in 2nd millennium BC showing Mari inrelation to BabylonRoyal archives at Mari (tel hariri) show co-existence ofnomads with urbanites. 19. A depiction of the ancient city of Mari, located in present- day Syria, western bank of Euphrates riverYears active: 2900-1759Destroyed by: HammurabiFamous for: over 25,000 cuneiform clay tablets in Akkadian language; Ishtartemple; most westerly outpost of Sumerian culture.Excavated by: Andre Parrot 1933-1975Traded with: Hazor and laish in northern CanaanBnai Yamin nomads, peaceful people, census-takers, 20. Tablet of Zimri-limTablet of King Zimri-Lim of Mari, ca. 1780 BC, Louvre Museum 21. 1. Names in patriarchal narratives are of Amorite type:Jacob, Abram?, Isaac, Joseph2. Social and legal parallels between bible and second-millennium ANE.2a. According to Nuzi tablets (Hurrian culture, kingdomof Mitanni 1500-1300 BCE) barren wife must provideslave woman. Sarai-Hagar. Child may not be expelled(cf. Ishmael). Slave adoption. Hurrian influencewidespread in Canaan.2b. Wife-sister parallel (according to Speiser).Summary: customs are without parallel in later times.Thus, early second-millennium origin of biblicaltraditions. 22. Map of the near east circa 1400 BCE showing theKingdom of Mitanni at its greatest extentHurrian-speaking people. 1500-1300 BCE.1372 Hittites conquer Mitanni, west of the EuphratesEastern portions (including Nuzi) are conquered by Assyria.Capital was located at headwaters of the Khabur river valley 23. Google map of upper EuphratesArrow points to modern Kirkuk, Iraq, near town of Yorghan Tepe, where ancient Nuzi waslocated. Nuzi was the sites Hurrian name. Akkadians called it Gasur. Excavations underauspices of ASOR 1925-31. approx. 5,000 tablets discovered to date. 24. Nuzi TabletsFrom the website COJS.org (Center for Online Judaic Studies) 25. Problems with Albrights reconstruction of events.1. New evidence suggests pastoral peoples had beenpresent all along. Cause of urban collapse:overpopulation, drought or famine. No widespreadimmigration. Period is part of EB age.2. Dimorphic lifestyle present all along and presumablycontinued into LB age.Therefore, no reason to associate with Abramswanderings. 26. 3. Nuzi practices reflect widespread Mesopotamiancustom.4. Amorite names continued into LB age (Ugariticnames of Joseph type and Amarna Canaanite names).Attestation of Abram is dubious, while certain in LBA.Joseph-type name is widely distributed across ANEhistory.5. Barren woman practice common in later periods. Ex:marriage contract from Nimrud 7th cent.6. Adopting brother is usually not future husband.7. Wife-sister claim is deception, not legal procedure. 27. A Different Approach to pre-literary history: MartinNoth and (his teacher) Albrecht AltIsrael was formed by a gradual amalgamation of clansand tribes.Its impossible that all tribes knew all the traditionsabout pre-settlement period:patriarchs, captivity in Egypt and Exodus, wandering inthe wilderness, revelation at Sinai, conquest of CananNoth drew on the form-critical method devised byHermann Gunkel; history of traditions(reconstruction of history). 28. Form-critical method of determining origin of biblicalpatriarchal traditions: connection with a particularplace/region.Patriarch Region Place-namesAbraham Judean hills Oaks of Mamre,(Sothern Canaan) near Hebron;Isaac NegevBeersheba; Beer-(southwesternlahai-roiJudah)Jacob Central hill Shechem; Bethel;countryGilead?(Ephraimite hills)Joseph|| Shechem; Dothan 29. History of Religion(die religionsgeschichtliche Schule).commentary on Genesis (1901) inwhich he applied his form-criticalmethod. Goal: identify the sitz imleben that produced a given text.Distinguished from source criticism.Further developed by Martin Noth. 30. Noth: Most immediate ancestor of Israel, Jacob, is linked withheartland; therefore, oldest tradition.Genealogical additions: Isaac &amp; Abraham.Blending of traditions is southern; therefore, priority ofAbraham.Blending took place not before Davidic monarchy (when Judahwas ascendant over Israel) but before authorship of Jpatriarchal narrative.NOTE: Earliest tribal list makes no mention of southern tribes(Judges 5:14-18). (Slide 35)Development of the tradition is coeval with development ofIsrael itself.Patriarchs are inaccessible as historical figures (onlytradition can be traced). 31. Criticism of NothHomeric and Ugaritic literature are characterized byextended, complex narratives (at oral stage oftransmission).Anthropological research shows that: kinship patternsare central to self-definition, creating complexgenealogical narratives as a device for self-definition.Stories are NOT mere etiologies of ethnic relationships.Genealogical structure of story is a feature of pre-literary development. 32. A modern Approach: Selective application of past methods:Archaeology, philology and tradition history, supplemented bysociology and anthropology.Patriarchal stories (Gen 12-50) contain kernel of authentichistory.Patriarchal narratives are ideology, not history.Biblical writers are drawing upon and interpreting pre-Israelitetraditions.Gunkel: Sign of older tradition - one that is anomalous in itspresent literary context but intelligible in an earlier context.fragments of an earlier whole. Example: sexual escapades ofsons of God with daughters of men (Gen 6) which perhaps ispre-Israelite, Canaanite tradition (sons of El high god ofCanaanite pantheon). 33. 1. Priority of Abraham suggests inter-tribal relationshipof Davidic-Solomonic period (12 tribes).Judges 5 (Song of Deborah) preserves different triballist. No mention of Judah and Simeon. Machir andGilead replace Manasseh and Gad (ca. mid 12th centBCE, after authorship of Merneptah Stele).Israelite identity derived is authority and foundexpression in the ancestral traditions of biblicalpatriarchal narratives. 34. --- --Total of ten tribes. Gilead replaces Gad. Makhir replaces Manasseh. Simeon andJudah missing (Levi is not counted as tribe). 35. Central hill country:Ephraim, Benjamin. Galilee:Issachar, Zebulon, Da n, Naphtali. Transjordan:Reuben, Makhir, Gilead. Phoenician coast:Asher 36. 2. Ethnic boundary-marking.Most Early Israelites were probably indigenous toCanaan. Conflict with valley dwellers caused them toidentify in provenance and genealogically with theeast (Mesopotamia, Transjordan, Aram) and not theEgypto-Canaanite west.Hebrew came to assume the meaning beyond theriver.Genealogical structure of patriarchal tradition is of LBA. 37. Indications of traditions being rooted in pre-Israelite period.1. Theophoric names (indicate that patriarchs worshipped El).2. Location of patriarchal homeland in Syro-Mesopotamia.1a. Names of tribes do not give single indication of Yahwehsexistence. Albrecht Alt. Explicit by E and P.Ishmael, Israel, Bethuel in J while generally referring to thedeity as Yahweh until Moses time: Joshua, Jochebed.1b. High god of Canaanite pantheon is El according to Ugaritictexts F. M. Cross. (El shaddai sac...</p>

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